Life can be difficult, and divorce can complicate it even more. A divorce can certainly stir up a variety of emotions, including loneliness. Alabama divorce is covered in the the Code of Alabama under Title 30. While there is nothing illegal about dating during the divorce process, just because you can legally date during divorce proceedings does not mean you should, even if your spouse is. It can be tempting to dive back into the dating pool, especially with the encouragement of family and friends to do so. It can be especially tempting to do so if your soon-to-be former spouse seems to have moved on with a new romantic interest. While you must ultimately make your own decision about dating during divorce, you should keep the following things in mind when making such a decision.
Personal Dangers of Dating During Divorce
The divorce process is stressful. Relationships are also stressful. If you choose to start dating during the divorce process, you risk adding a great deal of additional stress to your life. Even if your prospective new dating partner is aware of your situation and you are the type of person that can handle stress, a divorce can bring up a lot of emotions that you may not be used to. It can also be time-consuming at certain points during the process, which can take your focus away from a new relationship. In short, dating adds stress to an already stressful situation – stress that can be avoided by waiting.
A divorce can also strain your relationship with your own extended family members as well as those of your spouse. When children are involved in a divorce, it is important to maintain these extended relationships for the benefit of the children. Adding a new relationship into the mix before your old one is legally over can damage those relationships more than the divorce process itself, sometimes irreparably. Additionally, when children are involved and they see one parent moving back into the dating scene before a divorce has been finalized, it can have a severely negative effect on the dating spouse's relationship with their child or children. When children are involved, they need a period of adjustment to a new situation that may be different from yours, and that may be something to take into consideration.
Potential Legal Consequences of Dating During Divorce
While the personal impact of dating during divorce might be something you are prepared to handle, you should also consider the potential legal effects dating during a divorce can have on the outcome of divorce, especially if children are involved. While dating during divorce is not illegal, a court might view your pursuit of new relationships negatively while making custody determinations. Some courts may interpret your choice to date as a lack of care or concern for the children involved, even when this is not the case. Even a court subconsciously disagreeing with your decision to date could lead to that court factoring in more weight to your personal life when making a custody determination. A custody determination can have a serious impact on child support obligations you may owe, or support that may be owed to you.
There are also potential negative effects on the financial aspects of divorce. A divorce in Alabama means that assets will be divided equitably. In other words, assets will be divided based on factors that the court considers and what it thinks is fair. If dating begins before assets have been divided, a judge might view your use of marital funds for dating purposes as a reason to decrease the amount you are owed from the division of assets. This is especially true in divorce proceedings based on fault, such as adultery. Additionally, if your new relationship develops to the point of cohabitation before a divorce is finalized, a court may determine that you require less in the division of assets because you are in a position where you are likely sharing costs of living. This is especially true when alimony, also known as spousal support, is a potential piece of a divorce settlement.
There are many considerations to think of during the divorce process, as well as in preparing for it. In addition to the potential issues raised above, there may be other consequences related to dating during the divorce process applicable to your individual situation. It is important to contact an attorney that has experience handling divorce proceedings in Alabama as soon as you have made the difficult decision to pursue divorce. There are many potential unknown factors that might impact the divorce, and an attorney can help you prepare for and understand them. If you are considering divorce, contact Eversole Law to schedule a consultation regarding your individual circumstances.